February 2020 One doesn’t have to look far to see the continuing “boom” in Boone County. While there is no immediate indication of the momentum slowing down anytime soon as new businesses—small, medium and large—relocate to and/or build in the county, the Boone County Chamber of Commerce is looking beyond the horizon and has recently announced a few new initiatives for 2020 to enhance business visibility and to better meet the needs of its members in strategic and purposeful ways. We sat down with Diane Schultz, executive director at Boone County Chamber, to learn more about these exciting new initiatives: LEAD Boone County and ACCELERATE! Diane Schultz, executive director at Boone County Chamber “As we enter a new decade, the chamber staff and board of directors have been intentional to have conversations with and really listen to our members’ challenges and needs for business growth and success,” Schultz shared. “A chamber organization was much different 20, 10 and even five years ago, and as we look toward the next decade, we know we must be strategic in meeting the needs of our members in an ever-changing business climate. We are dedicated and excited to provide opportunities to continue to move the Boone County Chamber organization, but most importantly our members and communities, in a forward direction.” Schultz added that based on the needs of the chamber’s members and the county’s communities, the Boone County Chamber is committed to be a connector, convener and collaborator. “We connect members with resources to start new businesses and expand existing businesses, as well as connect consumers with businesses that provide needed services or products,” Schultz said. “We have an abundance of wonderful Boone County businesses, many new in the past few years that people may not be aware are right here in Boone County. We are dedicating to increasing the visibility of Boone County businesses and connecting them with potential new clients, contributing to their business growth and financial success.” A Brand-New Event for All Ages and Aviation Enthusiasts The Boone County Chamber is hosting a new event, ACCELERATE 2020, on August 14. The chamber is actively seeking sponsors and exhibitors for this upcoming event that will be fun, engaging and family-friendly! “The Boone County region is moving forward and continues to ACCELERATE,” Schultz exclaimed. “ACCELERATE 2020 is an aviation-themed event and will be held at First Wing Jet Center located at the Indianapolis Executive Airport. The event will offer opportunities to get up close with a variety of aircraft on display, participate in games and activities and enjoy delicious food offerings from local restaurants as well as adult beverages. It will also feature activities and amazing entertainment for all ages. There will be airplane and possibly tethered hot air balloon rides for the aviation enthusiast! We want to create a great event for individuals from throughout Boone County and the Indianapolis region. Boone County Chamber members will have the opportunity to put their innovative products and services on display at the event, connecting with consumers and showcasing all that Boone County has to offer.” An Elevated View of Workforce Development Issues Workforce development is not just a Boone County business issue—it is a national issue. Schultz shared that workforce development is one of the needs, if not the greatest need, of the chamber’s members. “Businesses’ greatest resource contributing to their success is people,” Schultz stated. “This relates to the attraction, development and retention of workforce. Collaboration is imperative in addressing and creating positive results to address Boone County’s workforce challenge. We are excited that the Boone County Chamber and Boone Economic Development Corporation have collaborated to establish a Boone County Workforce Alliance. The Workforce Alliance is a convener, connecting business representatives and local and state organizations, working together to create positive results in tackling workforce challenges. Both the Boone EDC and Boone County Chamber are committed to connecting Boone County businesses with resources and initiatives to strengthen our local workforce.” Schultz further explained that the alliance is made up of Boone County businesses, representatives from our three public school systems, government and community leaders. “We have two committees, one working on talent attraction and retention efforts and the other education/training,” Schultz shared. “The talent attraction and retention team is focusing on a campaign to highlight Boone County’s location and many job opportunities. The education/training team will be coordinating a Manufacturing Day in October focused on educating middle school students on future career opportunities.” Boone County Chamber Takes the LEAD Schultz added that one of the primary challenges affecting workforce is a skills gap of employees. The Boone County Chamber’s response: It created a new initiative in 2020 called LEAD Boone County, empowering leadership. “Every business, organization and community needs great leaders to be successful,” Schultz said. “Chamber and community members have expressed the need to gain valuable insight to improve leadership techniques, become a more effective communicator and develop strategies to take on new challenges professionally and personally. No matter what role a person holds in the workforce, community, as well as their homes, great leaders are needed to inspire teams to reach goals, effectively communicate and strategically solve problems.” Schultz continued, “We were pleased to host our first LEAD Boone County lunch event this past February. We enjoyed a catered lunch from Chick-Fil-A Anson, and we heard from Chick-Fil-A Anson owner Charlie Klein regarding his insights on building leaders. Caitlin Alerding, at Purple Ink, presented our first LEAD Boone County interactive program, equipping attendees to master multigenerational communication. Whether in the workforce or on a personal level, we know it is often a challenge to effectively communicate with the five different generations currently in the workforce, whether communicating with a Boomer, Millennial or Generation X, Y or Z.” The chamber will continue its ever popular Off the Clock and Women Inspiring Women member programs in addition to its new programs throughout 2020. Additionally, the Boone County Chamber is excited to host—in conjunction with the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and Boone County Economic Development Corporation—the third Boone County State of the Community on March 3, 2020, at the Boone County Fairgrounds. For more information about all of the upcoming events or for more information on the Boone County Chamber, visit boonechamber.org.